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US Business Travel Industry Contributes 2% to GDP and 3.5% of Employment: GBTA

  • June 5, 2024
  • 4 min read

GBTA study reveals for every 1% of growth in business travel, the US economy sees nearly 60,000 jobs, $2.9 billion in paid wages, $1.2 billion in tax revenue and $4.8 billion in new GDP

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) today unveiled a new study, the “GBTA U.S. Economic Impact Study: Business Travel’s Impact on Jobs and the U.S. Economy,” which quantifies the significant economic impact of traveling for work in the U.S. The report shows the business travel industry provided a major boost to the U.S. economy in 2022*, the latest full year for which a complete set of data is available for analysis.

The U.S. was the nation that spent the most on business travel in 20221, with expenditures totaling $421.1 billion USD and resulting in $119 billion in tax receipts. It also supported 6 million jobs and represented 3.5% of total employment. GBTA’s economic impact study also shows that for every dollar spent on business travel, $1.15 was returned to the U.S. economy as net-new gross domestic product (GDP). Additionally, of the direct jobs supported by business travel, 38% were in food services, 19% in accommodations and 11% in transportation and warehousing. The study also includes profiles of U.S. business travelers to better understand their characteristics, behavior, motivations and spending patterns.

The study methodology estimates total annual business travel spending in the U.S. in 2022 and uses a standard economic model to translate business travel spending into its impact on GDP, jobs, wages and taxes.

The U.S. is anticipated to be a top one or two market worldwide for spending again in 2024, according to GBTA’s latest industry forecast2. Although final data is not yet available beyond 2022, estimates from GBTA’s latest Global Business Travel Index™ (BTI) point to U.S. business travel spending for 2023 to increase around 7% above 2019 totals, indicating a robust recovery for the industry. On a global basis similar growth is expected, with business travel spending anticipated to surpass $1.5 trillion in 2024.

“The data shows that business travel is a substantial contributor to the health of the U.S. economy, and therefore also a key driver for the global economy,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA. “Business travel supports millions of jobs and delivers billions in tax revenue, which is why it is important for policymakers to consider the impact on the industry when devising economic policies – and for sustainable solutions to be prioritized, funded and developed to help us abate travel’s hardest-to-abate sectors.”

Additional study highlights for U.S. business travel in 2022 include:

A total of 429.9 million business trips were taken within the U.S.

An estimated 67% of trips were taken for transient purposes: sales, client service, government and military travel, and travel for construction or repair. The remaining 33% represents conference and event travel.

Business travelers are traveling longer for each trip: 4.1 days in 2022 (versus 3.3 days as cited in 2017 GBTA research).

The amount spent per business trip averaged $632, with 34% spent on lodging ($214), representing the largest single category for spending.

The average age of U.S. business travelers is 44.3 years.

One-third (33.9%) have an annual household income below $50,000 and 31.5% above $100,000, with the remaining third falling in between.

Blended travel − where business and leisure trips are combined − made up over a third of all travel (33.8%). Travelers stay for 4.4 days on average during “bleisure” trips, and although men were more likely to travel for business overall, proportionally, women added a leisure component to their business travel at a much higher rate than men in 2022.

California and New York were the top markets for business travel spending with $35.62 billion and $23.31 billion, respectively. Nevada ranked first among the top 15 states in terms of its ratio of business travel spend to GDP, with $6 billion of business travel spend comprising 3.2% of the state’s GDP.

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